Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday's Musings on Sports - Social Media Decidedly Unsocial to Cutler

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. Although Max resigned from 1050 more than a year ago (he has recently resurfaced on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles), I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

Yesterday afternoon, I turned on the Bears game and was surprised by what I saw. The enigmatic Jay Cutler was out as Quarterback for the Chicago Bears and with less than a minute left in the Third Quarter, the Bears had inserted little used Caleb Hanie (no, not Asher Hanie) at Quarterback. As I had not been following the game, I was very surprised since the use of the third quarterback (aka emergency quarterback) so early in the game meant that Jay Cutler would not be returning and that 2nd string QB Todd Collins had been ineffective.

As the afternoon wore on, I learned that Cutler had injured his knee and that my beloved Jets would not be in the Superbowl. (I know that the latter has nothing to do with this post, but I just needed to mention it). What was shocking to me were the media stories wherein present and former NFL players had "tweeted" that Cutler was a wimp for taking himself out of the game and that these players would have played with a knee injury.

Today, the Bears released the results of an MRI which was taken on Cutler's knee after the game. The test revealed that Cutler had a sprained MCL - an injury which usually sidelines players for 3-6 weeks.

I am not a Bears fan (although I am married to one) but even I am aware of the pounding that Cutler took this year. Cutler was sacked 52 times this year (12 more than the next QB on the list) and sustained a concussion in a game where the Bears gave up 10 sack to the NY Giants. Still, he only missed one game (the one which followed the Giants game) and even played the entire game in Week 17 when the Bears had already clinched the 2nd seed (he got sacked six times in that game).

I don't know how many of the players who buried Cutler yesterday have "tweeted" an apology, but the rush to judge Cutler and bury him by twitter was decidedly "unsocial." Indeed, it seems that the sound byte generation has been supplanted by the "tweet" an even smaller piece of information which is easy to transmit and often times results in the "tweeter" regretting the statement made. How many stories came out this year where athletes were either disciplined or exposed as morons based on their tweets?

Its a shame that twitter does not have the same protections that people do from speaking loshon hara. Chazal teach that the power of speech is so important that Hashem gives us two protections against its misuse - our lips and our teeth. If only there were protections against athletes and the misuse of their tweets...

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